Expert weighs in on law requiring rear-facing car seats until age 2

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — An expert spoke with Eyewitness News about a new law that requires parents to use a rear-facing car seat until children are two years old.

Deputy Chief William Nebus of East Providence police said he was a licensed car seat installer for years. According to Nebus, federal studies show rear-facing seats reduce injuries and fatalities in children by 75 percent in car crashes.

“What a car seat does when it’s rear-facing is it transfers all that energy across their whole back and their head is already resting backwards,” Nebus said. “It’s not in a forward momentum situation or a whiplash situation and the child essentially slides up in the seat and down and the seat absorbs a lot of that impact.”

Some parents may be concerned that rear-facing seats would be uncomfortable for larger children, but Nebus said safety should be the top priority.

Many, including grandmother Marsha Cordeiro, indicate they are happy about the new law.

“I approve of it. I actually have been shocked that the state of Rhode Island had not had a law prior,” Cordeiro said.

One provision in the new law allows parents who are cited to show proof that they’ve purchased a federally approved rear-facing car seat within seven days of the violation.

Nebus also said he doesn’t expect police to immediately enforce the law. Instead, he said officers will likely attempt to educate parents about the change.